Al Snow

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Al Snow
Al Snow in March 2013.
Birth name Allen Ray Sarven
Born (1963-07-18) July 18, 1963 (age 55)
Lima, Ohio
Residence Nashville, Tennessee[1]
Spouse(s) Pam Sarven
Cynthia Lynch (m.2009)
Children 2
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Al Snow[2]
Small Show[2]
Steve Moore[2]
The Five Star Ninja[3]
Leif Cassidy</ref name=oww/>
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Billed weight 238 lb (108 kg)[4]
Billed from Lima, Ohio
Trained by Jim Lancaster[2]
Debut 1982[2]

Allen "Al" Ray Sarven (born July 18, 1963) is an American semi-retired professional wrestler color commentator and actor better known by his ring name of Al Snow. He is currently signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and is best known for his work in Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. Since 2010, Snow has worked as a road agent for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and with its developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, as a show producer.

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1982–1995)

Sarven attended a professional wrestling tryout camp held by Ole and Gene Anderson. There he met Jim Lancaster, promoter of Ohio's Midwest Championship Wrestling, who agreed to train him.[5] Lancaster later described Sarven as "a leader in the ring" who "had drive and natural ability".[6] He made his debut on May 22, 1982. Sarven defeated Lancaster on May 5, 1985 for the Midwest Championship Wrestling title.[6]

Sarven wrestled in various independent promotions throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, capturing both tag team and singles titles, but failed to make any big breaks. In 1993 he competed in the WWF as a jobber losing to Marty Jannetty and The Undertaker under the name Steve Moore. He gained a reputation as "the best-kept secret in wrestling".[5] Sarven helped train future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Fame member and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Dan Severn.[6] During this time he would sometimes wrestle as Shinobi, a ninja-style masked gimmick. He wrestled in the November 19, 1994 tournament for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but he lost to Chris Candido, the eventual winner of the tournament.

From 1995-1997, Snow operated a professional wrestling school called "Body Slammers" in Lima, Ohio hiring D'Lo Brown as an assistant trainer.[7] It has since branched out with one of his trainers running "Bodyslammers" in Ottawa.[8]

Extreme Championship Wrestling and Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1995)

After a tour of Japan, Sarven wrestled a match in Michigan against Sabu, an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) regular, who suggested he try ECW.[5] After making his debut against The Tazmaniac and losing via pinfall on February 4, 1995, Sarven faced Chris Benoit as "Small Big Show" Al Show, in a 15-minute match that was hailed as one of the best of the year.[9]

Sarven was also being courted by Jim Cornette for his Smoky Mountain Wrestling federation. ECW booker Paul Heyman agreed to let him work for both companies. Sarven soon found that he was not being utilized by ECW and went to Smoky Mountain full-time.[5] In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Snow teamed with Unibomb (Glenn Jacobs, later to be known as Kane) as The Dynamic Duo and defeated The Rock 'n' Roll Express for the SMW Tag Team Championship.[6] Both wrestlers caught the attention of the World Wrestling Federation and were signed by the end of 1995.

World Wrestling Federation (1995–1997)

Sarven began working for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) when he signed a contract in August 1995. Sarven wrestled under numerous gimmicks in the WWF, such as Avatar (a luchadore-esque gimmick with Sarven coming to the ring bare face, putting on a mask to wrestle his match, then removing it) and Shinobi, a "ninja assassin" hired by Jim Cornette to dispose of Shawn Michaels. Sarven's WWF debut took place on the October 23, 1995 episode of Monday Night RAW as Avatar.

Sarven received his first mainstream exposure with the WWF as Leif Cassidy, the tag team partner of Marty Jannetty. The duo were promoted as The New Rockers, a throwback to the original Rockers team of Jannetty and Shawn Michaels. Eventually, the storyline was dropped, and Sarven was reduced to jobbing for mid-carders. In the late 1990s, WWF and ECW began to cross-promote their organizations to counteract the success of World Championship Wrestling (WCW); Sarven was one of the wrestlers sent to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).

Return to ECW (1997–1998)

Sarven found success back in ECW, billed once again as Al Snow. Sarven developed a new character gimmick after reading about abnormal psychology and finding a mannequin head on the street near the ECW Arena during a Mummers Day parade. He got the idea to portray an individual with a schizophrenic disorder using the head as a prop for projection. In this role, Sarven received a lot of fan and management support for his J.O.B. Squad storyline, which promoted him as being driven insane by his years as a jobber for the WWF.

In the storyline, Snow, upset at his lot in life, asked Cactus Jack what he had to do to get anywhere in wrestling. Jack said to Snow that to become famous he had to "get a little head" (meaning he had to be willing to sleep with/have sex with the booker). Snow, however took this literally, and thus he started coming to the ring with a mannequin head (with the words "Help Me" written backwards on its forehead, an action Snow himself began to do) whom he talked to as if it were a real person, which prompted ECW crowds to chant "We want Head", an intentional double entendre. ECW promoters handed out styrofoam mannequin heads at wrestling shows, and audience members started waving them and shouting, "Head! Head! Head!" in time to his entrance music. The entire audience would then throw the heads into the ring before the match started. Once in his ECW career, he wrestled for the ECW Heavyweight title, losing to Shane Douglas at Wrestlepalooza in 1998.

Return to the WWF/E (1998–2008)

Sarven was then recalled to the company, where he continued his gimmick of talking to "Head," creating some of the more memorable humorous skits of "The Attitude Era" including fighting himself in a hardcore match (which he won by putting himself through a table) and his short lived comedy tag team with Steve Blackman.

Al Snow with "Head" in April 1999.

Snow received some mainstream publicity in 1999 when Wal-Mart pulled his action figure from their shelves after Sabrena Parton, a professor at Kennesaw State University, complained that "Head" was a "decapitated woman's head" that sent an inappropriate message about violence towards women. Parton was quoted as saying "What kind of message would this toy send children about brutalization of women?"[10] Sarven used the story as part of an angle in which the controversy caused Al Snow to suffer from depression. In one skit, Snow called his mother, observing that the stores would not sell his action figures, but would sell shotguns and ammunition.

During the summer of 1999, at the conclusion of a storyline where Head was impaled with a spike by Prince Albert, Snow replaced Head with a chihuahua named Pepper, who he claimed talked to him. A variety of segments were broadcast showing Snow's interactions with the dog, including bringing Pepper to the ring to either "participate" in matches or be held by the broadcast team. This led to a storyline where Big Boss Man kidnapped Pepper. Boss Man agreed to return the dog if Snow defeated him in a match for the Hardcore title; however after losing the match he reneged and kept the dog. Later, in a segment on SmackDown, Boss Man invited Snow to his hotel room to discuss the situation, before serving Snow dinner which was then revealed to be Pepper. (In a 2008 interview, Snow said that this angle had been based on a story of Mr. Fuji having done something similar with a neighbourhood dog.[11]) The feud culminated at a "Kennel from Hell" match at Unforgiven, which consisted of a regular cage which was surrounded by a Hell in a Cell structure, with "a trained pack of wild dogs" in between the two, and the objective was to escape both cages without being attacked by the dogs. Al Snow won the match.

Snow would later team with real life friend Mick Foley, but turned heel by betraying him due to Foley's jokes about him in his autobiography, Have A Nice Day. He would later turn face again due to fan reaction. Snow was often the butt of Foley's jokes during Foley's tenure as the Commissioner in 2000. However, they are close friends in real life.[12] Foley continued to use Snow as the butt of many jokes in his second book, Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling.

In early 2000, he began to team with Steve Blackman as an "odd couple" tag team called Head Cheese (the "cheese" part being given various explanations, including Snow's claim that Blackman was a voracious eater of cheese and later his attempt to force him to wear a Green Bay Packers "Cheesehead" hat). Also in 2000, Snow won the European Championship from Perry Saturn. He then began a tongue-in-cheek gimmick of entering the ring to various European countries' native music, with his theme song sung in the language of the country, and wearing attire which would suit the stereotype of that country. This continued until he lost the title to William Regal.

In 2001, Snow tried to rally support from the fans to vote for him as the new Commissioner of the company following Foley's on-screen firing by Vince McMahon in December 2000. By March 2001, a match was set up between Snow and Regal to determine the new Commissioner, which resulted in Regal winning. Snow then took some time off from the ring in order to commit more time for the reality show Tough Enough. He made his return to the ring in October 2001 during the InVasion era and challenged Christian for the European Championship at Survivor Series, which he lost.

Snow's last championship reign came on March 11, 2002, when he defeated Goldust to win his last Hardcore Championship. He lost the title to his former Tough Enough student, Maven, a few days later. He was drafted to SmackDown! as part of the 2002 Brand Extension,[13] where he teamed up with Maven.[14] After taking time off again for another season of Tough Enough, Snow returned as a member of the Raw roster[15] and eventually became a commentator for Sunday Night Heat alongside Jonathan Coachman. When the Coach sided with Eric Bischoff,[16] Snow followed suit, turning heel.[17] The two feuded with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler,[18] and briefly replaced them at the Raw announce table after a victory at Unforgiven in 2003.[19] When Tough Enough IV came to SmackDown!,[20] Snow was on the scene and turned face once again.

In 2006, Snow returned to wrestling full-time as a member of the new ECW brand. His first appearance in the new brand was in the WWE vs ECW Battle Royal at the "WWE vs. ECW Head to Head" special, where he was accompanied by Head. He was eliminated from the match.[21] On the June 13, 2006 debut of ECW on Sci-Fi, Snow participated in an Extreme Battle Royal, which was won by Sabu.[22] Over the next six months, he was used sporadically, mostly as a jobber, losing to people such as Test[23] and Kevin Thorn.[24]

On January 18, 2007, Snow was released from his WWE contract, along with several other superstars. However, he remained with the company as a trainer at Ohio Valley Wrestling. On the February 3, 2007 OVW TV tapings, Snow was named the new OVW Troubleshooter by Danny Davis in response to Danny Basham's WWE release. On Raw XV, the 15th-Anniversary special on December 10, 2007, Snow participated in the 15th Anniversary Battle Royal. After WWE ceased affiliations with Ohio Valley Wrestling in February 2008, Sarven was released from his position as a trainer.

Independent circuit (2006, 2008–present)

Prior to returning to WWE's active roster in 2006, Snow competed in the Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF) and was pinned by MWF Heavyweight Champion "Sudden Impact" Dylan Kage of Paul Bearer's Trifecta at MWF Fireworks On The 4th.[25]

At the early stages of 2009, Snow participated regularly in several independent promotions in the US and in independent promotions in Europe, especially UK and Germany. He debuted in Damn That's Wrestling in South New Jersey, where he won in a tag-team match with local wrestler Tommy Golden against local wrestlers Patch and Jojo. Al Snow made an appearance in Chikara's King of Trios 2009, teaming up with Glacier and D'Lo Brown.

On April 18, 2009 Snow wrestled his first match in Australia at St. Jays Recreation Centre, Salisbury, South Australia along with Chris Masters and various local wrestlers.

On October 31, 2009 Snow became one of the first big name wrestlers to wrestle for the Dynamic Wrestling Alliance defeating "Bad Attitude" Brian Beech in the main event of the Monster Ball event which also became the promotions first televised event.[26]

In 2009 Snow was the GLCW Heavyweight Champion. On August 8 at GLCW SlamFest, Snow was set to defend the GLCW Heavyweight Championship against X-Pac. Due to not being able to make the event, he was stripped of the title as a result. In 2010, Snow won the GLCW Heavyweight Championship for a second time as X-Pac was not able to make it to the show due to travel delays in Europe caused by volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

On January 16, 2010, Snow made another independent appearance, wrestling at the Throwdown in Downtown II at the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Event Center. Snow was the headliner of the seven match card, taking on Total Championship Wrestling International Heavyweight Champion Tim Storm in a title match. Snow was extremely over with the capacity crowd, but he lost the match to Storm after interference from Storm's tag team partner from the Dark Circle, APOC.

On November 14, 2010 Snow teamed with Fred Flash to defeat Bodacious Pretty Boy & Eddie Gillett at a Regional Championship Wrestling event called Megabrawl 5 in Reading, PA.

On May 4, 2013 Al Snow competed in a singles match against "King" Sean Williams at an event called Slamfest 2013 in Cookeville, Tennessee. He won the match by pinfall. He also held the Pro Wrestling Ulster championship, after defeating Northern Irish wrestler Tucker for the championship on 1st February 2015, He then lost the title on the 30th of August 2015 at Pro Wrestling Ulster Supershow 8 Hardcore war after Tron Cashed in his platinum ticket following Al snow, Luther valentine and Magico successfully defeating the Murder (Bonesaw, Damien Corvin and Dunkan Disorderly) in a hardcore match.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2008, 2010–present)

Al Snow with Head at a show in March 2013

In the lead-up to the December 7, 2008, TNA show Final Resolution, Mick Foley assigned himself as the special guest enforcer for the match between Kurt Angle and Rhino. Angle said he had hired "another former World Champion" and someone who had co-held a world tag team title with Foley. This person would debut during Angle's match to "take care of Foley". And on the night in question, Al Snow revealed himself to be the mystery ally of Angle, who interrupted the match by slapping Foley. The distraction allowed Angle to beat Rhino.

In March 2010 Sarven received a tryout as an agent for TNA Wrestling.[27] He made his return to television on the July 15, 2010, edition of Impact!, aligning himself with fellow ECW alumni Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards, Rhino, Brother Devon, Pat Kenney and Mick Foley in their invitation by Dixie Carter to TNA.[28][29][30] The following week, TNA president Dixie Carter agreed to give the ECW alumni their own reunion pay–per–view event, Hardcore Justice: The Last Stand, as a celebration of hardcore wrestling and a final farewell to the company.[31] At the event Snow was defeated by Rhino in a three-way match, which also included Brother Runt.[32] Since then, he has appeared onscreen in his real-life role as company agent on multiple occasions, often alongside fellow agents Ace "D'Lo Brown" Conner and Pat Kenney. Sarven currently holds the title of producer for the company. In Spring 2011, Snow returned to OVW, dividing his time between his TNA duties and work as a show producer for OVW. In November of that year, OVW became TNA's official developmental territory.[33]

In May 2012, Snow began appearing as a judge in the monthly Gut Check segment on Impact Wrestling.[34] The following July, Snow started a storyline rivalry with Joey Ryan, who had been denied a spot on the TNA roster, following his appearance on TNA Gut Check.[35] After Snow tricked Ryan into signing a contract for a match,[36] the two met on October 14 at Bound for Glory, where Snow wrestled only his second match for TNA, losing to Ryan, following interference from Matt Morgan.[37]

On January 12, 2013, Snow took part in Joker's Wild (which aired May 3, 2013), teaming with recent rival Joey Ryan, in a loss against Matt Morgan and Robbie T.

On the August 7, 2014 edition of Impact Wrestling, Snow returned to team with Team 3D (Bully Ray and Devon) and Tommy Dreamer against EC3, Rhino, Big Rycklon and Gene Snitsky in an eight-man Hardcore War in a winning effort.[38]

On the February 13, 2015 edition of Impact (which was taped on January 29), Snow returned to TV as a heel, where he was seen in the SSE Hydro, calling out Scottish wrestler and British Boot Camp 2 contestant, Grado. Grado would come out to the ring where Snow would give him the opportunity to retire from wrestling, Grado would not take the offer. On the February 20 edition of Impact (also taped January 29) Snow would face Grado in a losing effort, after which he would then go on to shake Grado's hand turning face in the process. Afterwards, the Beat Down Clan (BDC) would go on to attack both Snow and Grado, but were saved by the debuting Drew Galloway (former WWE Superstar, Drew McIntyre), would fend off the BDC and who would then stand tall in the ring alongside Al Snow and his friend, Grado. At Bound for Glory 2015 Al Snow competed in the Bound for Gold Gauntlet.

Acting career

He had a small part as the Nome King in the 2012 feature film Dorothy and the Witches of Oz with Christopher Lloyd, as well as starring in the action film Overtime, and the comedy Agua Caliente. He had an uncredited role in the 1993 film Rudy.[39] Snow also appeared in 2006's They're Just My Friends and co-stars alongside Tiger Chung Lee in 2009's Mountain Mafia. In 2006 he played himself in the independent feature film The Still Life.

Snow and his wife Cindi can also be seen as the brutal serial killers Grim and Lady, also known as "The Reaper's", in Feathered Italian Films[40] latest slasher films The Legacy[41] and Hell House.[42] Head also cameos in "The Legacy". He was one of the leads in the 2011 comedy/action/sci-fi movie Overtime by director Matt Niehoff.

Snow had a quick line in the wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat. He also participated in the wrestling documentary, Bloodstained Memoirs.[43]

Al Snow also appeared as a coach on WWE Tough Enough (then called WWF Tough Enough) during the show's first three seasons.

On November 10, 2012, Snow, along with several other TNA workers, were featured in an episode of MTV's Made.[44]

Snow completed his work as the "Man in Black" for the independent horror film Lake Eerie on October 23, 2013.[45] The film stars Lance Henriksen, Betsy Baker and will be released in Summer 2015. Snow also played "Henchman" in Jessica Sonneborn's horror Alice D. [46]

In wrestling

Al Snow performing the Snow Plow on Christian York.
Snow striking his opponent with Head.

Championships and accomplishments

  • Cal-International Pro Wrestling
    • CIPW Americas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[50]
  • Global Wrestling Alliance
    • GWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • GWA Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • GWA Tag Team Championship (5 times) - with Mike Kelly
  • Great Lakes Championship Wrestling
    • GLCW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • High Risk Pro Wrestling
    • HRPW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[51]
  • Legends Pro Wrestling
    • Inducted into the LPW Hall of Fame (9/30/11)
  • Masterz of Mayhem
    • MoM Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Mickey Doyle[50]
  • Midwest Championship Wrestling
    • MCW-ICW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • MCW Midwest Tag Team Championship (2 times)
    • MCW Midwest Territorial Championship (1 time)
    • MCW-ICW United States Tag Team Championship (6 times)
  • Midwest Territorial Wrestling
    • MTW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
    • MTW Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Ray Roberts
  • Motor City Wrestling
    • MCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • MCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Denny Kass
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him # 329 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
  • Pro Wrestling Ulster
    • PWU Championship (1 time)
  • Top of the World Wrestling
    • TOW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with PCO
  • Ultimate Wrestling Experience
    • UWE United States Championship (1 time, current)
  • USA Pro Wrestling
    • USA Pro Heavyweight Championship (1 time) [53]
  • USA Xtreme Wrestling
    • UXW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


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External links